Barrister 1990 on
Queen’s Counsel 2013
President of the Nottinghamshire Law Society 2016-2017
I was born in Nottingham in 1963.
I attended Nottingham Bluecoat Grammar School, Nottingham Trent University and Chester College of Law.
Originally, I had intended to be a professional guitar player but, following a dip in my fortunes, my late father made it plain that I had to get a “proper job.”
Thus, it was that, just a little reluctantly, I was admitted as a solicitor on the 16th November 1987, became a partner at Messrs Fidler and Pepper on the anniversary of my admission before transferring to the Bar in 1990, and coming to 1 High Pavement that summer.
I became a Grade 4 prosecutor in 1998, and took “silk” in 2013.
As a junior, I regularly appeared in cases involving fatalities. Many of them were cases of vehicular homicide (Manslaughter, Causing Death by Dangerous Driving, Causing Death by Careless Driving, etc.), but I also appeared in a number of “baby shaking” Manslaughter cases.
I prosecuted R. v Forbes, a Manslaughter case focussing on causation where an octogenarian gentleman with a poor cardiac history from which he could have died at any time, died after the defendants threw a brick through a window at his house.
R v Gary Spalding
A murder of the defendant’s partner following a frenzied attack with a knife and a hammer.
R v James Sullivan
Another domestic murder involving kitchen knives. It also concerned a fascinating twist on R. v Kelley as D had taken a knife to the scene but ultimately used one in the deceased’s home to murder her.
R v Peter Thurgarland
This was a case of a septuagenarian who killed his wife in their home following an undiagnosed deterioration in his mental health.
R. Geoffrey Hemming
A former radio presenter murdered his fiancée having suspected her of being unfaithful. The issues were factual (D pretended she had been killed by an intruder), intention, Loss of Control and Diminished Responsibility.
R. v Charlotte Collinge
D was originally convicted, together with two co-accused, of murdering her husband and sentenced to Life Imprisonment with a minimum of 23 years. I represented her at the appeal when a retrial was ordered, and then at that trial where she was acquitted.
R. v Leon Frye
This was gangland shooting in Birmingham. There were highly complex issues of Bad Character, and the admissibility of background evidence.
R. v Tyson and Bray
A murder by strangulation followed by an arson attack in an attempt to destroy the evidence implicating the defendant.
R. v Ellisha Allen
This murder of her partner using a knife in their own home had the unusual feature that D, who was an alcoholic, refused to let the deceased leave her, threatening to kill him and ultimately following through with that threat.
R. v Haris Mohammed
The murder, by a sixteen-year-old, of a man in Derby City Centre following a flirtatious comment. It was a single stab wound caused by a flick knife.
R. v Pawel Lupa
The defendant murdered his partner and attempted to murder their mutual friend after the three of them had drunk five litres of vodka. The primary issue was whether the defendant or the other man had killed his partner.
Many of these cases involve consideration of complicated telephone evidence including cell-sighting, computer evidence, detailed medical and scientific evidence and I am familiar with all aspects of these as well as with the various psychiatric issues that arise.
I have also been involved in many cases of Attempted Murder several involving revenge or other gang-related attacks.
R v McKenzie and Alexander
This concerned the discharge of a shotgun through the open window of a motorcar in broad daylight.
I have also been involved in a number of so-called “honour” cases.
R v Malcolm McMahon
This was a case where both the victim and the defendant were serving sentences of Life Imprisonment for offences of Murder in Gartree Prison and the defendant attempted to strangle the victim in his cell.
I have also been involved in many cases of Manslaughter including Corporate Manslaughter.
R v Kerry Woolley
The defendant killed his mother who was suffering Altzheimer’s because he couldn’t bear her suffering any longer (a so-called mercy killing). She would have died from her illness within a few days.
2. REGULATORY OFFENCES
I have appeared in many regulatory cases. I have prosecuted on behalf of various local authorities, and other bodies, for example the Fire Service, District, City and County councils, etc.
Derbyshire Dales District Council v Chatsworth and Reason
This was a case where a man died following his motorcycle having fallen down and unmarked hole in the ground on the Chatsworth estate.
3. SEXUAL OFFENCES
I defended my first case of Rape when I was only three months call and quickly came to specialise in Sexual Offences. Together with Shaun Smith QC, I campaigned actively and successfully for the rules of professional conduct to be changed to permit prosecuting counsel to meet alleged victims and witnesses before a trial.
I have lectured the Crown Prosecution Service, the police and the medical profession about various aspects of sexual allegations and have twice been a consultee in Nottingham University studies into the provision of “Special Measures” and their efficacy. I have been invited to speak about this at The Hague.
I have experience of prosecuting and defending these cases including historic allegations going back over fifty years or more.
More recent illustrations of the kind of work I have undertaken include:
R v Metab Yasin
This concerned the prosecution of a Muslim schoolteacher for sexual offences against a former pupil from a Christian school where he had taught her. A multiplicity of complex and sensitive cultural and religious issues arose.
R v Sherif Khalil
The case of a man that had sexually assaulted and raped his stepdaughter, raped his wife and indecently assaulted his sister-in-law over a period of many years.
R v Gareth Oldknow
I prosecuted a man who sexually abused and utterly corrupted his stepdaughter over many years to such an extent that, even at trial, she retained considerable loyalty and affection for him, rendering effective prosecution extremely difficult.
R v Mark Freshney
I defended a man charged with raping his daughter over many years and whose account was corroborated by a friend who made allegations of sexual assault in her own right. The case was stopped part way through cross-examination of the first complainant.
R v Robert Pearson
This was a prosecution before Royce J of a man with a complicated history of mental health issues who was alleged to have performed a sexual act in public. I stopped the prosecution once it became plain that there was a risk of a miscarriage of justice because the inferences that a jury might draw may very well have been erroneous but there was no admissible evidence that could be put before the jury to this effect, making a fair trial impossible.
R v Joseph Moran
This was the “stranger” rape of a young woman on the Forest Recreation Ground after she was twenty pence short of her bus fare. It resulted in the defendant’s conviction for both Rape and Wounding with Intent (subsequently upheld by the Court of Appeal) and the imposition of an IPP.
R v Andrew Machin
I defended a man charged with Rape whose defence was one of non-insane automatism by reason of his history of sexomnia. I called an expert witness from the London Sleep Centre. The defendant was ultimately acquitted after a trial lasting seven days.
R v Jeremy Keith
I appeared for the former chairman of Derby County Football Club on fraud charges following the takeover from Lionel Pickering. The trial lasted over six months at Northampton.
R v Richard Barr
This was a trial at Manchester (the last case HHJ Atherton did) and it concerned fraud by an officer of HM Customs, much of the evidence coming from two co-accused who had pleaded guilty.
5. DRUGS OFFENCES
I received a commendation from the then Chief Constable of Nottinghamshire for “Operation Normality,” (R. v John Dawes and others) where every one of the thirteen defendants were convicted. This case concerned a vast narcotics empire with the profits going abroad.
Operation Halbert I and II
This case had an evidential link with “Normality,” but was prosecuted by the CPS Serious and Organised Crime Unit with officers from the then Serious and Organised Crime Agency. There were fifteen defendants, all bar one of whom was convicted. It involved so-called “Hawalla Banking” and there were over 6,000 pages of evidence resulting in the case taking two days to open to a jury.
This was a National drugs investigation involving detection through a combination of cell siting, ANPR “hits” and partial observations.
This was a huge International operation spanning three other investigations and involving three discreet conspiracies to supply Cannabis.
6. ARMED ROBBERY
Operation Bathometer (R v Modou Ndow)
I prosecuted the defendant, a former employee of the Co-operative Store, who bore a grudge. He committed robberies throughout Nottinghamshire at stores where he was aware of the layout. He was sentenced to twenty-one years imprisonment.
Operation Headland (R v Hoyland and others)
This was the robbery and kidnapping of the Assistant Manager from a warehouse in Grantham. It was highly planned and two defendants ultimately admitted their part and then gave evidence for the prosecution.
7. OTHER NOTABLE CASES
At the time, this was the largest and most organized theft of copper cabling from the railway system. The Case Summary alone is forty-seven pages long. It was evidentially complicated not least because of the propensity for the defendants to use one another’s personas at various stages.
This concerned a national investigation into an Organised Criminal Group that disguised themselves as officialdom, usually the police or officers from HM Customs, and then robbed or burgled wealthy people or those looking after large sums of money throughout Leicestershire, Nottinghamshire and Northamptonshire.
R v Joseph Fletcher
This is the leading reported decision of the Court of Appeal dealing with the proper approach of the Criminal Cases Review Commission and others in cases where the law has changed since the original conviction.
This concerned an “Intelligence Officer” working under contract to Nottingham City Council who stole and then sold intelligence information to known suspects after the Council terminated his contract.
R v David Driver
The defendant killed a passenger in another motorcar having turned, in foggy conditions, onto the opposing carriageway of the A46. It was a case about whether it can be dangerous per se to drive in certain conditions.
I was President of Nottinghamshire Law Society 2016-2017.
I am the Bar representative on the Criminal Law sub-committee of Nottinghamshire Law Society.
I am senior counsel on the Criminal Justice Research Centre at Nottingham University.
I am a trustee of the Nova Academy Trust (formerly Torch Academy Gateway Trust).
I am the Head of Discipline and Complaints and Recruitment at 1 High Pavement.
As well as appearing in Homicide and other offences where a certificate for Queen’s Counsel has been granted, I undertake private work in cases of Criminal Law in all courts.
I also appear at Inquests, Medical and other tribunals.
I still secretly yearn to be a rock star!